Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fire Station

Since Max was about two years old, he has had a deep and enduring love of firetrucks. He adores anything "fireman" - including his ever-present fireman rain coat and boots. His favorite outfit is a Paul Frank fireman-monkey t-shirt, the aforementioned jacket and boots, and his red plastic fireman's hat. And nothing thrills him more than when some stranger calls him "fire chief".

Luke seems to be following in those same footsteps. Whether it is just because it is what his big brother does or a well cultivated interest of his own, he loves to race firetrucks up and down the playroom and read any of the plethora of fireman books on hand. He wears Max's old fireman boots all around the house, and grabs the precious jacket the second Max lets it go.

So it was a no-brainer that a visit to a fire station was in order. Yesterday the Belmont Fire Station (a historic firestation in SE Portland) was hosting one of its Safety Saturdays, and our morning was open. We decided to surprise the boys with the visit (a lesson learned when plans have gone awry and children became inconsolable about something that they couldn't have/do), and just opened the doors to the station without a word. Both boys stared in amazement. We were in a REAL.LIVE.FIRE.STATION.

It's a cool little museum with an old fire hose cart and truck, a pole the the kids can slide down, and lots of buttons and levers to push and pull. The best part is a front half of a firetruck that they have set up as a simulation vehicle. You get in, put on your seatbelt, and on the front windshield is a video of the truck going to an actual call - vibrating seats and all, it feels like you are really going out with engine number nine. Max and I went twice.

It was perfect adventure for my two little firemen-in-training, and a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. For all of you locals, I couldn't recommend it more! You can't beat a great free and dry activity for a wet fall morning when your child can't do anything but gaze in awe at the heaven that surrounds him:

Parent-teacher conferences

This last week I got to sit on the "other" side of the parent-teacher conference table. While I have been doing the teacher side of things for 10 years, the parent side is a totally new gig. And believe me, I was nervous!

Ok, I see his teacher and talk with her 3-4 times a week when I go to pick Max up from school. I assume that if there were major issues she would have told me. But still...what was she going to say?

We had been to an open house there the week before. Max took Dan and I around his classroom and showed us some of the lessons he has been working on. We got to see dropper work (complete with the clean-up routine when a little spilled), cylinder sorting, matching color tiles, and sandpaper letters. He could have stayed there all night showing us all of the things he spends his time on every day. It was the first time he's ever really talked about the work side of things of his school day - usually we just hear the social side.

So, sitting down at conferences, we knew a little about his days. But we were very pleasantly surprised at just how well things are going for him there. He has several really strong skill areas, and socially is tied in well. The behaviors that are most challenging for him at home (temper eruptions and the need to win/be first) aren't happening at school. It was all really good.

Of course, Dan and I are proud of Max. And of course our family loves him. But it was the first validation from a totally neutral party that we have lucked out. We've got a great kid on our hands. Hopefully parent-teacher conferences always go this well!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A couple of great reads....

Just popping in to share a couple of quick things that have brightened my days lately:

1.Giving Thanks for Pirates - This one was sent to me by a mom friend the other day - it's from a local columnist, and was a great and humorous reminder about my life as a mom (especially a mom of two boys!)

2.The entry, as good as it gets* - This one is from a blog that I read regularly, and is a great reminder to slow down and enjoy now.

Will be back soon with a Halloween picture share.....